Odysseus' Strengths and Weaknesses
The Odyssey by Homer is a metaphor for one man's spiritual quest. Throughout the
story Odysseus develops and growth. Odysseus learns how to use his brain instead of his
hands. He starts to listen to the advices of different people. He also finally understands the
advice given by the blind prophet Tiresias: "It is the journey, not the destination."
At the beginning of the story Odysseus has some weaknesses that prolong his voyage
back to Ithaca. His most important weakness that he possesses is that of his pride. Pride is
good to have, but in Odysseus' case he has to much of it. This is clearly evident in the
episode on the Cyclopes' island. When Odysseus and his men are clearly safe away from
the island Odysseus braggs about his exploit. Polythemus hears this and hurls giant
boulder in the direction of the ship. It came very close to sinking the ship.
Still that was
not enough for Odysseus. Carried away in his pride he unwisely gives away his identity to
Polythemus. On page 86 Odysseus says: "It was Odysseus blinded you, taker of Troy,
Laertes son, who dwells in Ithaca." With that Polythemus calls upon his father, Poseidon,
to punish the man who had harmed him. That incident hurts Odysseus more than losing a
few men, because Poseidon makes his travel home ever so longer and arduous.
Yet another weakness of Odysseus is his sensualness. Odysseus enjoys women. He
stays with Circe for one year before his men remind him of home. On page 112
Odysseus says, "So here day after day, the whole year through, we sat at feast with meat
in plenty and peasant wine. But when the year had gone its way my faithful comrades
called me to them and said: Poor spellbound man, think now of your own native land."
That is when Odysseus realizes his weaknesses and starts to change. He actually listens to
Circy's advises. When he reaches Scylla he uses his brain instead of his hands. He
sacrifices six men but the rest of the crew is all right.
At the end of the story Odysseus hesitates before he acts. This patience is one of the
most important things that he learned in his journey. This can be easily seen when he
disguises himself as a beggar when he finally reaches Ithaca, waiting for the right moment
to reveal himself. On page 178 Athena says, "Young man who watch and hope to slay you
when you come home. That shall never happen." After Athena says that, she changes
Odysseus into a beggar. This time Odysseus is not only patient, but he also listens to
Athena's advice. He makes two smart choices.
Odysseus survived all that happened to him. His courage, wits, and endurance enabled
him to come through each and every difficulty and arrive home safely. It is very important
to overcome your pride and to listen to other people when they are giving you an advice.
Patience is also very helpful in peoples lives. Those things will make anybody a better
person, and that person will be respected by everybody.